A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.

5 Awesome, Interactive Children’s Books for Summer

Grey skies, mizzly rain, the creaking of central heating… Summer is almost here (apparently) and with it come a host of inspiring summer reading lists.

In the spirit of my new book Self-Destructing Science: Space, I’m adding an alternative list to the mix. These books are less likely to be spotted in libraries, because they invite children to get writing, scribbling and even water-pistoling to make the book their own!

They are great books to give kids who don’t naturally gravitate towards summer reading challenges. They’ve all been road-tested by my band of boys, and what better road-test than a bank holiday queue on the M1?

61sGkAmbLDL Don’t Eat This Book
by David Sinden and Nikalas Catlow

I love this book, and (spoiler alert) it’s my go-to birthday present for developing readers. Like a kids’ version of Wreck This Journal, every page has prompts for personalizing it in an entertaining way – our favourites are ‘Use this book to annoy someone’, and a page to be painted by water pistol!

51J96p7ZW+LCreate Your Own Alien Adventure
by Andrew Judge and Chris Judge

This book instantly captured my boys’ imagination (i.e. started a fight over who got to use it). I was ordered to buy a second one for my eldest son IMMEDIATELY. Bring on those book delivery drones. I was delighted to discover a second title, Create Your Own Spy Story, which I’m saving for an 8-hour ferry trip.

61KxS+HuWLLHow To Write A Story
by Simon Cheshire and Kate Pankhurst

We have this brilliant book in BIG and SMALL sizes, which is lucky because I wanted my own copy! It’s full of short, colourful writing activities which will trigger loads of story ideas and give children the tools to bring them to life. Really good for 7+

71qNcMboomL101 Things You Need To Know … and Some You Don’t!
by Richard Horne and Tracey Turner

This pocket-sized book packs in 101 ‘disgusting and unbelievable’ facts, each one with a pages left for the reader to customize. By the end of summer you’ll know how many people are flying through the air at any one time, how to speak like a pirate, and how to make quicksand.

41NPa6ZAaDLBeat the Book!
by Tim Bugbird

Even the cover of this book is interactive (and extremely strokeable). Inside, each page has an interactive challenge, with three chances to beat the book! Lots of fun.

And a bonus sixth title …

61cY9LirvlLSelf-Destructing Science: Space
by Isabel Thomas and Nikalas Catlow

Warning: this book will self-destruct! Packed full of fun and exciting projects which use its pages in different ways, this book will have you tearing, folding, cutting, experimenting and scribbling as you find out all about the science of space. You will have very little book left when you’re finished, but you will have a moving Martian bug, a space rocket, a wormhole, and the means to make your own big bang, which seems like a fair trade!

Have you come across any other great hands-on titles? Leave a comment and add to the list!


About Isabel Thomas

Isabel Thomas studied Human Sciences at Oxford University before becoming a writer. Her books for young people include HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD (OUP), shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People's Book Prize 2016, and SELF-DESTRUCTING SCIENCE: SPACE (Bloomsbury). Isabel lives in Cambridge, where she is zookeeper to three young sons. Website: Twitter: @raisingchimps


This entry was posted on June 3, 2016 by .

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